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1983 Bristol 38.8

Portland, Maine



Basic Boat Info

Boat Name: WALTER J
Make: Bristol
Model: 38.8
Year: 1983
Condition: Used
Category: Sail
Construction: Fiberglass
Boat Hull ID: BTY00028M83B
Has Hull ID: Yes


Length: 38 ft
Length Overall: 38 ft
Beam: 12 ft
Max Draft: 4'6 ft
Displacement: 20,000 lb
Bridge Clearance: 56 ft

Engines / Speed

Engines: 1
  • Make: Universal
  • Model: 5444
  • Fuel: Diesel
  • Engine Power: 44hp


Heads Count: 1
Boat Class: Sloop


Annie Gray
Gray & Gray Yacht Brokers, Inc.


Gray & Gray Yachts
36 York Street
York, Maine, US, 03909


Bristol 38.8 - Hood Design -  Boat is rigged/outfitted for offshore sailing. I have lived aboard in the Caribbean and in Europe. In past 7 years have made 3 solo round trips Maine to Caribbean and return, and two Single handed Atlantic Crossings.   Then the Pandemic stopped everything. 

Loa: 38.3 foot

Beam: 12 foot

Draft: 4 foot, 3 inches light boat, 4 foot 6 inches with all stores and gear aboard. 

Swing Centerboard adds 6 foot to draft when in use, dependent angle.    Centerboard SS lifting cable replaced complete 2017.  I mostly use the board at various 1-2 foot depth for balancing the boat, but is definite improvement if going up wind.  

Disp 10 ton - 20,000 lb

Lead ballast cast into bottom 8 inches of keel = 9000 labs

Bridge Clearance 56 ft - Includes VHF antenna. 

All Lewmar self tailing winches (48's). 

-Waterline Length x Beam x 3.4 = PPI in Pounds = Pounds per inch Immersion = approx. 1200 pounds per inch draft. 



Universal Diesel mod 5444 

Rated 44 hp at 3000 rpm

Installed a Balmor 130 amp alternator. 

Is Kabota Tractor Block adapted to Marine and with special head.

Present max RPM with Luke Reversing Prop is 2750.

Runs at 5 knots in fair weather at 2000 rpm.

At 2000 rpm burns 3/4 gallon per hour.

Usable in Main Fuel Tank is 24 gallon on 28 gallon capacity.

Usable in Reserve Tank is 10 gallon fuel - gravity fed. 

With 5 gallon spare jerry can = approx 40 gallons fuel / at 3/4 gal per hour = 250 mile extreme range.

Engine original 1983 - hours unknown - no hour meter - 3 years ago had injectors pulled and compression tests were all at original specs. 

Is no key - is hidden silver pull switch in Port Cockpit deck locker - no key to lose. 

This engine has a bleed valve from the main fuel line back to the main tank - no need to crack injectors to bleed air out of system. 

All possible engine accessories have been moved to the Port Cockpit locker - Racor / filters / main fuel lines with master flow valve / Spare fuel tank / Cooling water expansion tank with fill.   For ease access and to free up space in engine compartment. 


-Standard Lighting and Running Lights; all New wiring 2015 with lights and all Nav. and interior lighting changed to LED. 

Batteries are AGM - 4 D equivalent - new 2015 - 3amp Solar Panel mounted on stub mast aft of cockpit out of sail shadow, with smart charger.    Never remove batteries ashore when in layup on the hard.   The Solar panel keeps them perfectly charged through the winter. 


-Main Fuel Tank is 2.4 gallon/inch - Do not run under 3 inches unless flat calm.   Suction pickup is on Port side near tank wall - will pick up air at that level if rolling. 


-Reserve fuel tank added in Port Cockpit Locker, just under seat and approx. 2 foot above engine.   This allows a head pressure which along with the bypass valve to return line on engine, can prime engine without touching or bleeding the injectors.  


-2  Fresh Water Tanks - 50 gallon under sole midship - 50 gallon under v-berth fwd. 

-Holding tank is 30 gallon - y valve (new Raritan head will be installed 2022/2023).


-Inside trim paint is single part enamel #4208 Hattarass off white (starboard house sides rebuilt in 2014). 


- I replace standing rigging one piece at a time every one to two years. Next due is Upper shrouds. Lower shrouds 2020.  Headstay and Roller Furling 2018. Backstay 2017 etc.  All shrouds done all chainplates tested - 2 were replaced with new bolts.


Sails etc : 

-Main new 2017, Rebuilt by Pedersen Sails Freeport 2020.  One reef = 1/3 of sail area.  

-120 Genny brand new 2020.  I have only bent it on once. 

-Genny is bent on Harken roller - Harken roller is new 2018.

-Staysail new 2016. 

-New 150% Genny new 2012 came with the boat, was unused.    I had it cut down to a (roughly) 130% 'Screecher' - a big sail that has to be led all the way to the back of the cockpit.  Cut full for reaching.    It is a bear for me to handle alone.   After initial trials I have not used it.   I do note that it is an impressive sail that drives the boat very well in anywhere from low to moderate high wind, but again, too much for me handle alone.  

- There is an older Main cut down for a emergency get home sail if all else is gone. 

- The Dodger is brand new, installed by Pedersen Sail of Freeport in 2020. 

- Asymmetrical Spinaker, new 2017 is 3/4 once - very light - for use in Doldrums - sets from fabric chute.   The whisker pole is too large, need a smaller unit.   I just use an attachment on the main boom to sheet the Gennaker.   

- There is a custom, fabric, winter boat cover that came with the boat.   Is in storage, have never used it. 

- Is an adjustable Gahauer boom vang - installed 2017. 

- There are Jacklines on deck both sides fore and aft - and Port and Starboard Jacklines installed in the cockpit.  My body harnesses do not go with the boat. 


-Luke Feathering Propeller:

Installed new 2015 - Feathering Prop -  As well as Feathering, gives full power ahead and astern.  Is unique design. I can't say enough for it. A Luke prop must be pressure pumped overfull of marine grease once a year while rotating the blades from ahead to astern and back. I replace the zerc fitting yearly.  Now that I haul for winter I grease just before launching. It can be done underwater but would be messy. 

- to Feather the Luke Prop when sailing, put the gear shift lever astern to prevent rotating .  This locks the shaft and allows the blades to feather. Not ahead!  According to original manuals locking the shaft by putting it in gear ahead could damage the trans.  over time. 

- Luke Props are long. I could not put the standard cone zinc fitting on the end after installation.   I installed a spacer in between the mating faces of the main shaft coupling thus moving the prop/shaft out approximately 1/2 inch.   This allows a standard collar zinc to be put on the 1&1/4 inch shaft.  This standard zinc collar, standard thickness of 1 inch,  must be machined down to 7/8 of an inch thick (full diameter) and installed directly against the propeller - this to leave enough space for water to get into the Cutlass Bearing. There are no side feeds for water to the Cutlass on this boat so this space is crucial. When take the collar zinc to a machine shop to have it machined, make up a 1/2 dozen. Believe I am almost out of spares. 


-Solo Mast Climbing rig - Bought in Portugal 2017 - it actually works.  Discuss.


-There is a built in Dive tank with air hose and mask/gear.    Has a 60 foot air hose that leads out through head access port  and down to water for cleaning bottom or can remove and put in dingy to hunt lobsters. You have to wear a set of weights to get neutral in the water. 


-There are two large rings installed in the transom for Drougue/Towing attachments - with backing plates installed in the lazarette.  

-New oversize bow cleats installed with backing plates.  


-All overhead and Companionway  hatches have weighted mosquito screens - are on board. 


-There are several Hydrovane Self Steering spare top sails on board.  


-Will need to change the Ham Radio to Single Side Band unless you get a Ham license. Backstay antenna is good for either Ham or SSB with a Ground Antenna that runs inside the ceiling nearly the length of the boat - Ground antenna as push ground. 


- Cabin cushions will need to be recovered soon.   


-Spare boarding ladder with dingy anchor on board to rig as drouge - Discuss. 


-All Deadlights / Ports have Lexan storm covers installed.    They are put on with threaded inserts. I leave them on.   


-Never use wheel stop - always lash the wheel to installed side clips. 


-Is time to re-spray paint the cockpit seats back to grey and white again. 


-Need to oil the cockpit teak, instrument mounting and grabrails once a year in the Spring.  Use Watco Danish Oil.   Use painters tape and rags = do not get on the fiberglass - will stain. Teak deck cap rails are left grey weather.   All varnish in cockpit and on deck has been removed - teak allowed to weather.   


There are 2 cans of Trinidad, top of the line bottom paint in the locker in the foc'sle.    Need pull these out and check for rust on cans. This bottom paint is worth hundreds of dollars. 2022 painted bottom.    


-I put in one hundred and fifty pounds of lead as permanent ballast, glued onto the hull in the lazarette.  With all after tanks full and the forward water tank half full, the boats sits well balanced fore and aft. If add full stores aft can fill both f. water tanks and sit well balanced fore and aft. 


- There is a 4 man lift raft on board.  5 years old.  Needs recert. inspection. 


-There are new shut offs installed to segregate the head from the rest of the water system. I removed the shower head and wand.   If I need a wash I use a bucket in the cockpit. I am very frugal with fresh water. Valves for shower and attachments are still in place.  


- Companionway slides, clamp/glue/paint  this winter.   


- Main anchor is 37 pound ROCNA mounted on the bow with 150 foot of 3/8 H.T. galvanized chain and 200 foot of 5/8 inch Yale Braid anchor line.  There is also an 18 pound Fortress Danforth type anchor in the deck locker fastened down, rigged with 170 foot of 1/2 inch Braid and 16  foot of 5/16 inch chain. Stored below in a box is a spare Rode with 26 foot of 3/8 inch chain to 170 foot of 5/8 inch Yale Braid line. Stored below is also a 40 pound galvanized Plow anchor. Mounted on the stern rail is a 15 pound Danforth anchor with 6 foot of chain and 100 foot of 1/2 inch Braid anchor line. 


-I installed one, new oversized drain in the cockpit in addition to the two original cockpit drains. 


- There is on board a fish cleaning/filleting board that locks on the after starboard cockpit rail.    


-All electronics are in good order. Note the AIS is receive only. GPS systems are separate with own antenna.  


-Need to replace an overhead hatch dog in cabin.  - Replacements are in storage drawers.  


- Galley sink has a salt water foot pump, freshwater electric pump, freshwater hand pump. Note: the oversized Galley sink drain has a check valve in it to prevent water coming up into the sink when you are heeled over on the Starboard tack.   Once every 3-4 months this valve will stick closed and the sink won't drain. Just take a small wrench and tap the hose under the sink and it will open nicely. 


-I use Vodka after almost drained water tanks and then pump through the water system for layup. 


-The Hot water tank is drained and bypassed. 


-All new stainless deck safety lines 2017.   


- Propane fireplace heater on Main Cabin forward bulkhead. Has combo air intake / exhaust stack.  


-Beat up Walker 8'6" dingy with oars goes with boat. Fits on deck forward of mast with lash downs. Side safety lines are opening on starboard side forward for dingy launch and retrieve. 


-Sleep bedding is in locker at foot of my bunk. 


-I had a new hi temp alarm installed on engine. There is a new bilge water alarm installed.


-Discuss start up of electric mechanical auto pilot. Discuss spare fuse location. 


-Over port bunk main cabin is stored (1) uninstalled "Uncontrolled Jibe Preventer System" for main boom. 


-One auto bilge pump. Yard replaced the discharge line and one way valve this last winter. Is Hand Bilge Pump in cockpit.  Also is v. large, separate electric bilge pump in bilge with separate discharge. Remember this second (large) separate system bilge pump is manual switch control only. Keep engine running if using. 


In hanging locker in foc'sle is a  canvas 'chart wallet'  with old charts. Throw the old charts and you have a new 'chart wallet' for your on board charts. 


-Need squeege the "Storm Track System" once a year with silicone lube - discuss system. "Storm Track System" needs lashing at base of mast when fit out each Spring.  


-Starboard Midship Teak Cap Rail  - the Chock is cracked. I took the bolts out of the chock and set up a 6 foot bar and blocks and stood on it and couldn't budge the thing.    So put the bolts back in.  If you want to replace would have to cut it out and replace with a longer chock.   


-All cockpit winches were disassembled and rebuilt/greased  2021 / reinstalled.   Good for another 5-6 years. 


-Am in process of stripping paint and old varnish off the Teak winch base tops - then to Watco Danish Oil. Stripper is in Stbd deck locker.  


-Radar works well but choose your scale and keep it there. If you go from 2 mile scale to, say, 6 mile scale - you have to retune the display...and do it again if shift back to 2 mile. 


-Simrad Electric Mechanical Steering system - Is mounted in Lazarette direct to tiller arm. The computer is mounted in a shelf over the Nav. desk. The Fluxgate Compass is mounted in the bottom storage in the centerline table, midship - center - at level of the waterline. Is very powerful system. I use this mostly along the Coast.    


-I use the  Hydrovane Self Steering System for offshore work. Works in any weather and incredibly well.   Can even be mounted off center and works fine.  Can't say enough good about it.  Note. It rattles and is sloppy back and forth even though works perfectly.    DO NOT go through the system and put in nylon shim washers, tighten the unit up, put in spacers etc. It will stop working. When you call the Company they will give you quite a bit of Hell over the phone and tell you to go back and read the instructions...... and to take out all the shims and spacers. It is supposed to be sloppy and to rattle.   Then it works fine. Speak me on methods of removing and installing the rudder for the system.  When rudder installed it would ordinarily  restrict your ability to handle the boat in harbor small spaces since makes the main rudder less efficient. However, I have installed a tiller insert on the Hydrovane unit and if use that along with the main rudder. this will increase your ability to maneuver in close quarters since now you are using two rudders. Note - even if Hydrovane rudder is stored - if you have a steering malfunction - you can ship the separate Hydrovane Rudder and have steering to get home with.   


-Clips to store oars in foc'sle. 


-Need remove the Simrad mechanical auto pilot tiller arm and rebush the spare hole for control attachment - thus giving  a second, backup attachment point.    


-There is a newly installed grease fitting for the Rudder Shaft in the Oak top block.    Squeeze some grease in once or twice a year.    


-Need fab two disks with bolt/wingnut for overhead in head. Used to be a small Solar Panel Vent there. I took the vent out and use the aperture to run electric lines when working at a dock, also to lead the hose out through for the Dive Tank system if scrubbing the bottom. Or could just put in a new Solar Vent. 


-Complete Spare for Head discharge pump to Holding Tank or Overboard is stowed under the cabin deck forward. All hoses for Head to Holding tank, Head to overboard, Storage tank to Overboard are new. I am swapping out  the Raritan Toilet this winter rather than rebuilding it. 


Additional Contact Information

Annie Gray is a longstanding YBAA member, offering 48 years of experience in assisting clients in the purchase or sale of high quality yachts of distinction. Please call Annie at 207-363-7997 or on her cell at 603-498-3450

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